I always read reviews before I do something like this but have never actually written one. I was very nervous about doing the fraxel from reading these reviews because of the horrible outcomes from some. This is my situation. I am 27 years old and have acne (pitted) scars on both of my cheeks. Its very uncomfortable for me to be in overhead lighting (bars, restaraunts, and even outside in the sun) without feeling extremely self concious.
I saw 3 different people. First, my dermatologist who said "We can do Smoothbeam for $300." I was excited about this and did it but had absolutely no results so never went back. I saw a second place, Advanced Laser Center or something in Ridgewood, NJ. The Doctor didn't even look at my face and whipped out a book showing me my options. After I told him the smoothbeam did nothing, he started to tell me my options. "We can start with the Smoothbeam..." I listed to his little sales pitch and politely said thank you and left.
I was getting frustrated because of course I wanted these scars gone NOW and I had to keep setting up these appointments with these Doctors that didn't seem to know how to fix or even care about my scars. I then started to look up Plastic Surgery and went that route. I found a Board Certified plastic surgeon who sat me down and talked to me about what I wanted done. I told him. He told me that he bought a Fraxel machine 7 years ago and that he uses that for Acne scars. He then told me the price, $1000 per session plus tax. And I had to wait two months to even get an appointment. So, I decided to go for it. Hesitant that a laser could "raise" my pitted acne scars I just didn't have any other option. Also, I knew that I needed to do this so that if it didn't work I could say, Ok, i told you now do something else.
Now to the review. You get there an hour early and they numb your face (vasoline type cream) and then you wash it off and you lay down in the chair. He puts these things over your eyes and starts with the laser. It hurts, a lot. It feels exactly like your getting a tattoo over your entire face. When he gets to the edges of where the cream has run out (hairline, lip line, and by your ears) it hurts even more. Suggestion: When you apply the lidocaine cream, make sure you tell them to cover to the absolute edges of your face and lips.
I got the procedures done on a Friday and afterwards it feels (and looks) like you have really bad sunburn so I drove home with the AC blasting on my face which soothed it. After an hour, there is absolutely no pain just a tightness in your face. Over the next few days your skin will start to peel almost exactly like a bad sunburn. I was back to work on Monday and just said I took a three day weekend to Florida.
After the first treatment, honestly I saw no results. I went in for the second and told the Dr. that and he said, OK, we will turn up the power. (More pain, more redness, more peeling). After the second time, I looked in the mirror and (I'm not a feminine guy at all) started to actually cry. The scars were faded significantly and I could not longer see the deep pits in my cheek. Instantly, I regained confidence that I forgot I had because I always hated when people looked at me. I almost created a language where I say very short phrases or sentences so that people wouldn't look at me for a long time when I was talking.
Pleased with the results, I went in for a third visit. I really wanted to go all out on the third one because I was tired of being poor month to month because of these treatments. He turned up the machine, same pain, same peeling and redness, better results. The scars are faded to the point of almost not being seen ( I mean I can see them because I've stared at my cheeks every day and in every possible reflection surface for the past 5 years ) by other people. I have my life back.
I dont work for fraxel, I am not secretly my Dr. trying to get business, I'm just a normal guy who just wanted to be normal without worrying about lighting and sitting on right of everyone i'm with (movies, at a bar, on the train, anywhere and everywhere). I know its expensive but if you can somehow afford it, it will change your life. A perk of it is that it improves the skin on your entire face, not just the scars. I basically ate pasta and bread to make it through. I put my life on hold for three months because otherwise, it would have been on hold forever.